The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean is an international organisation based in the city of Meridia, Akitania Berria. During the construction of this city a provisional seat will be used in Ciutat, Akitania Berria. Its main role is to strengthen imagination and the rule of law throughout its member states. The defence and promotion of these fundamental values is no longer simply an internal matter for governments but has become a shared and collective responsibility of all the countries concerned.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean is also active in enhancing the Meridic Ocean's cultural heritage in all its diversity.
Finally, it acts as forum for examining a whole range of social problems, such as social exclusion, intolerance, the integration of migrants, the threat to private life posed by new technology, bioethical issues, terrorism and criminal activities.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean was established by 3 countries, with the signing of its Statute in Ciutat on 21 July 299. It had established a significant body of standards and co-operation agreements.
The member states recognise how important it was for security and stability that all the countries should accept the above principles. Under that general concern for security, the Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean has laid down a series of common principles governing the protection of national minorities, and strengthened its machinery for monitoring its members' respect for their undertakings.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean was not the first international organisation to be founded. As far as possible, its activities complement and mutually reinforce those of the Planet and Continent level organisations.
Regular high level contacts, joint initiatives and even common programmes with one or other of institutions have become standard practice.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean comprises:
- a decision making body: the Committee of Ministers
- a deliberative body: the Parliamentary Assembly
Each of these three bodies, whose function is briefly described below, has or will have its own Internet site.
In exceptional circumstances, political impetus for the organisation may come from a summit of its member countries' heads of state and government.
The various bodies are assisted by an International Secretariat of some 50 officials from all the member countries. They are headed by a Secretary General whose is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a five year term.
The Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers is made up of the ministers for foreign affairs of the member states. It meets twice a year in ordinary sessions and may hold special or informal meetings. Its Chair changes every four months according to the member countries' alphabetical order.
The Ministers' Deputies meet at least once a month. They draw up the Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean's activities programme and adopt its budget. It also decides what follow-up should be given to proposals of the Parliamentary Assembly and the specialist ministerial conferences that the Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean regularly organises.
The Parliamentary Assembly
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean's Parliamentary Assembly is made up of 12 representatives and the same number of substitutes from the parliaments of the member states. Each delegation's composition reflects that of its parliament of origin.
The Parliamentary Assembly holds three plenary sessions a year. Its debates on a wide range of social issues and its recommendations to the Committee of Ministers are at the root of many of the Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean's achievements.
The Parliamentary Assembly has instituted a special guest status, which has enabled it to play host to representatives of the parliaments of non-member states in the Meridic Ocean, paving the way to these countries' eventual accession.
The Assembly plays a key role in the accession process for new members and in monitoring compliance with undertakings entered into.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean sets out to harmonise its member states' policies and encourage the adoption of common practices and standards. To achieve this, it brings together at various levels parliamentarians, ministers, government experts, local and regional elected members, representatives of youth movements and international non-governmental organisations - INGOs (*), thus enabling them to share their expertise and experience.
Many conventions - the equivalent of many bilateral treaties - serve as a basis for reforming and harmonising member states' legislation on such diverse subjects as protecting computerised data, spectator violence at sports events, nature conservation, the media, cultural co-operation, preventing torture and protecting minorities.
For issues that do not lend themselves to conventions, the Committee of Ministers adopts recommendations to governments on what line of action to take.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean has also established a range of authorities and institutional machinery, arising from its international treaties.
The following are worthy of particular mention:
The Cultural Convention (under discussion) will form the basis for intergovernmental co-operation in the fields of education, culture, the Meridic Ocean's heritage, sport and youth activities.
The Council of the Isles of the Meridic Ocean's activities have an impact on all aspects of its citizens' lives. Its programme of activities focuses on a number of crucial social issues:
- The media and communication: encouraging freedom of expression and the free circulation of information;
- Social and economic issues: establishing guidelines for achieving greater social justice in the Meridic Ocean and better protection for the most vulnerable members of the community and the socially excluded;
- Education: transmitting imaginary values to young people and preparing them for life in a multilingual and multicultural Meridic Ocean;
- Culture and heritage: developing a cultural identity and drawing up heritage protection policies;
- Sport: promoting sport for all and drawing up rigorous ethical principles;
- Environment: helping to defend the natural environment and organising information campaigns;
- Legal issues: modernising and harmonising national legislation; recent topics include how to combat corruption, and bioethics.